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Adagio - "Night" (5'00")


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This was titled "sleep music" in my orchestral folder - soothing after some of the abrasive stuff I worked on late last year. It's tonal, somnolent, much of it in half-light. Rendered on 25th April.

It emerged with a couple of other pieces for strings (all muted except the solos) and small orchestra. I'm wondering if it holds together enough to be worth doing some final work on it.

If you can please give it a listen, many thanks indeed, and any comments good or bad would be really appreciated. I had hopes for it but it might be just too boring and put people off to sleep. 

Bests,

Quinn.

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Kickstarter Project for Music Jotter begins May 10th. Write music on the web or desktop computer.
Has Midi Scrubbing & Easy Tuplet Entry.
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Sup with those triple flats :P

Awesome work man, I didn't think it was boring or anything. In fact, I felt pretty engaged listening with the score. This piece breathes so well, I love all the dynamics and swells with the chords. The melody at times was a bit hard to grasp, but I think your returns to the theme made it cohesive enough (it kept reminding me of the Leia theme from Star Wars, or something like that).

Your musical language is fascinating. Would you share some of your thought processes in it's construction? I can't remember if I've heard your music before, but I'll be sure to check out more. 

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Listened to this 3 times, definitely not bored. Here are some unfiltered thoughts:

  • I would love to conduct this. I would love even more to have an orchestra willing to have me conduct them, but that's another matter. I think the piece needs some phrase-by-phrase expression that just isn't there in a constant-tempo robotic rendition, which to me feels rushed.
  • I liked the beginning to bar 40, and then again around bar 75 where you've got a partial return of the violin melody from bar 20. The part in between seems a bit arbitrary, hard to tell where you're going.
  • I'm always thinking about large scale form, and I think you could resolve some of the arbitrariness by making this the middle movement of a 3 movement suite where you tie the thematic material together across the movements. Like, the cello and violin figures starting at bar 85 could be transformed versions of something from the outer movements. (Gestures in different contexts?)

Anyway, don't toss it, it's worth working on!

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A captivating piece of work!  I really love the chord at 1:10 - it's such a delicate texture!  That movement by tritone into an E major chord is really an ingenious harmonic choice imo.  The whole piece is quite delicate and yet intoxicating.  The dissonances are soft rather than sharp which might also be the result of your expert rendering.  It does seem like the kind of music to accompany the sleep of a tortured soul.  LoL  I think that was your intent?  Great job!

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As Alex mentioned, the dissonance is well done. The whole piece sounds similar to Ralph Van Williams, especially around the 2:40 mark. I also agree with Alex in believing this sounds similar to a film score. 

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Thank you all for these generous comments. They're most appreciated. Plenty to look back on. but it looks like with a little more polish it could be a workable piece.

On 5/6/2022 at 10:20 PM, Thatguy v2.0 said:

Sup with those triple flats 😛

Awesome work man, I didn't think it was boring or anything. In fact, I felt pretty engaged listening with the score. This piece breathes so well, I love all the dynamics and swells with the chords. The melody at times was a bit hard to grasp, but I think your returns to the theme made it cohesive enough (it kept reminding me of the Leia theme from Star Wars, or something like that).

Your musical language is fascinating. Would you share some of your thought processes in it's construction? I can't remember if I've heard your music before, but I'll be sure to check out more. 

Your comments are kind indeed and encouraging. I suppose the aim is to sound as like a real orchestra as possible - as if I had to prepare the orchestra asking players to change this or that, then humanising it in the DAW copy that will be rendered. The triple flats? Oh dear, I missed respelling them in the score. That will be put right. So thank you for mentioning them and reading through the score.

 

On 5/6/2022 at 10:31 PM, Alex Weidmann said:

I like all the dissonance, and it definitely sounds like a gripping film score.

Feels unsettling and suspenseful! 

Certainly didn't find it boring.

Many thanks. The original "sleep" file was a bit more soothing! In this manifestation I hoped to convey a warm darkness in which as usual there is apprehension for many! And it's truly gratifying to know you weren't bored or dropped off to sleep!

Continuing in a new post so this one doesn't get too long.

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On 5/6/2022 at 10:56 PM, Tom Statler said:

Listened to this 3 times, definitely not bored. Here are some unfiltered thoughts:

  • I would love to conduct this. I would love even more to have an orchestra willing to have me conduct them, but that's another matter. I think the piece needs some phrase-by-phrase expression that just isn't there in a constant-tempo robotic rendition, which to me feels rushed.
  • I liked the beginning to bar 40, and then again around bar 75 where you've got a partial return of the violin melody from bar 20. The part in between seems a bit arbitrary, hard to tell where you're going.
  • I'm always thinking about large scale form, and I think you could resolve some of the arbitrariness by making this the middle movement of a 3 movement suite where you tie the thematic material together across the movements. Like, the cello and violin figures starting at bar 85 could be transformed versions of something from the outer movements. (Gestures in different contexts?)

Anyway, don't toss it, it's worth working on!

Thank you indeed, Tom. Your suggestions and commentary are so welcome and I'll definitely think about it being part of a suite. I feel in a Honegger Pacific 231 mood right now but thwarted because of a software issue for which I need support! Re your first point, yes, perhaps there could be more dramatic pauses, ralls and so on. I tend to work to a fixed tempo in the DAW (that has to fit the grid ready for engraving) and am so a-rhythmic anyway that I try to control the pace in durations in the DAW.   It's a habit I need to change; also altering the time signatures bar to bar to make reading easier.

Again, thanks.

On 5/6/2022 at 11:24 PM, PeterthePapercomPoser said:

A captivating piece of work!  I really love the chord at 1:10 - it's such a delicate texture!  That movement by tritone into an E major chord is really an ingenious harmonic choice imo.  The whole piece is quite delicate and yet intoxicating.  The dissonances are soft rather than sharp which might also be the result of your expert rendering.  It does seem like the kind of music to accompany the sleep of a tortured soul.  LoL  I think that was your intent?  Great job!

Some most appreciated compliments there, Peter. I do try with the rendering - never cheat (like push the volume fader up or down to get balance. Once the "standard" mf is set for an instrument any change is done through velocity). Like you I initially work on paper then go to Reaper which I like because I can have one editor for the whole project.  I'm glad the piece made sense at least. Perhaps night is the sleep of a tortured day! (Working with some of this software of late rather tortures my soul I must admit!)

 

On 5/7/2022 at 1:19 PM, Atlantis_ said:

As Alex mentioned, the dissonance is well done. The whole piece sounds similar to Ralph Van Williams, especially around the 2:40 mark. I also agree with Alex in believing this sounds similar to a film score.

Atlantis, hi, and many thanks for that. One of the reasons I divide my strings into 9 parts is that I tend to work in 5 or 6 part harmony here and there - it can lead to over-dense textures but it also allows me to add non-harmony notes that cause the dissonances. The comments generally inspire me to think of a short film depicting aspects of late dusk and nightfall. Interesting that you mention Vaughan Williams. I'm no great fan generally except of his 5th, 6th and 7th Symphonies and there might be a slight connection with the last movement of his 6th although hopefully not as morbid!

.

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